Pastor John’s Bible Stories For Grown-ups
09/14/16 – 571 – Jesus Calls His First Disciples
Yesterday we talked about the fact that Jesus had many more than 12 disciples, but only the 12 that He called to be apostles. These men He endowed with special power and authority to act in His name.
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
But Jesus didn’t simply send these men out without instruction, guidance or purpose.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.
He went on to give much more instruction – they were to take nothing with them as their work had value and people should support them. He told them that if a person, household or town didn’t want to listen to them, they should ‘shake the dust off their feet’ and move on.
This instruction is one that’s often forgotten today, and can be taken by some to be very radical and even cold, uncaring. As Christians, we are often taught never to give up trying to ‘win souls’. But I’ve found that some people are really good at using a carrot & stick routine, always keeping you convinced that they are just one step away from accepting Christ.
But you know what? They have no intention of ever accepting Him. What’s really happening is that they are draining you of time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere – and it’s intentional. Here’s the thing. They have the same freedom to choose as you and I. They know about Christ, and instead of choosing to follow Him they are choosing to allow themselves to be used as a disruption to prevent the Word from reaching others.
Jesus didn’t stop with these 12 men. He gave His instructions, and He prayed for them. Before He ascende into heaven after His resurrection, He prayed for them also. And then He prayed for… us.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
That is – if you are one of His own. A disciple.
If you are, pray today that His Spirit would help you to crow to be more like your Rabbi. If not, why not make today the day you accept His call? I know it sounds hard – it demands your entire life. And why not? His life was also demanded so that we could be saved. But I promise – you’ll never be sorry for the new life you will live will be unbelievably better than the life you leave behind, because in this new life you’ll never be alone. He will always be with you.